and legal experts have faulted the University of Malawi (Unima) Council over its decision to suspend the process of unbundling of the pniversity pending a functional review.
The University Council on Thursday said in a statement it was reversing the process of separating the constituent colleges of the Unima, namely Chancellor College, College of Medicine, The Polytechnic and Kamuzu College of Nursing on the grounds that the decision to unbundle was made outside the mandate of both the council and senate.
Reads part of the statement: “[The] council appreciated that the decision to delink the university taken during its 102nd Extraordinary Meeting held on 10th July 2017 was ultra vires and not in line with the powers and functions that these two structures [senate and council] were mandated to undertake under sections 10 and 18 of the Act (Cap 30.02).”
The council’s decision went against the recommendations of the stakeholders consulted by the Task Force on De-Linking Universities. The stakeholders included the ministries of Education and Health, students, management of the constituent colleges and an association of parents studying with the Unima.
Reads part of a report by the task force: “Essentially, all the stakeholders consulted unanimously agreed that the constituent colleges should be de-linked from Unima and three fully fledged universities should be established.”
Reacting to the developments, Malawi Law Society president Burton Mhango said the council’s decision to reverse the unbundling process has no legal basis since Parliament ratified an Act to facilitate the delinking process.
He said: “An Act of Parliament is above any decision that the council can make. The decision made by the council cannot have any effect on the decision made by Parliament. The decision to delink the universities was formalised.
“For that decision to be rescinded, it will have to go back to Parliament for a subsequent amendment or repealing the previous legislation [which authorised the delinking process].”
Concurring with Mhango, the Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) in a statement signed by its executive director Benedicto Kondowe and board chairperson Jennipher Mkandawire said the council’s decision sets a wrong precedent